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International money transfer duration

Wire transfers are convenient, but using a money transfer service can almost always get your money there faster.

Bank wire transfers have been around for more than a century, and although they’ve gotten faster, they still typically aren’t instantaneous. Several factors come into play when transferring money through your bank. Understanding why transfers take time and what alternatives are available can help you avoid delays when you’re in a hurry.

How long does a wire transfer take?

At best, expect the following transfer times for domestic and international transfers.

  • Domestic wire transfer speed – Within 24 hours is possible, particularly for transfers between accounts at the same bank.
  • International wire transfer speed – Between two and five business days, perhaps longer depending on various factors.

When you send a wire transfer through your bank, you should be provided with an expected delivery date, though this isn’t a guarantee of any sort. Wire transfer time varies based on many factors, some that are in your control and some that aren’t:

  • Your bank – Smaller banks may take longer for international transfers, as they may not have an International Bank Account Number (IBAN).
  • Receiving bank – If you’re sending a wire transfer to a bank other than your own, the banks have to communicate which can take time.
  • Time of transfer – Sending transfers earlier in the day is better. If you send it at the end of the day, it has to wait until the next business day to start processing. The same goes for the end of the week, or right before a bank holiday.
  • Type of transfer – Some banks offer expedited wire transfer services, but beware of high fees added to your transfer total.

How to have wire transfer funds available immediately

When you are in a rush, or you just don’t feel like waiting, there are ways to expedite the speed at which your money is transferred. By default, almost no wire transferred funds are available immediately, so use these alternatives to get your money faster.

Blue icon representing money transfers Image: Infogram

Digital money transfer services

Companies like WorldRemit specialize in foreign currencies, making them some of the most cost-effective transfers. Most offer transfers directly to your recipient’s bank account, often in as little as a day.

Picture not described: BlueCoinsCashIcon_Infogram_94x62.png Image: Infogram

Cash transfers

Services like Western Union and MoneyGram allow you to transfer cash for nearly instant pickup. While it’s a fast way to send money, you may pay more in fees than you would with a digital money transfer service.

Compare ways to send money

Use our comparison table to see more ways to have your money there faster.

Name Product Minimum Transfer Transfer Time Transfer Fee
WorldRemit
WorldRemit
PHP 1
1 - 2 days
USD 3.99
Use promo code FREE to send your first transfer with no fee. T&Cs apply.
WorldRemit sends money to 110+ countries for bank-to-bank deposits, cash pick-ups or mobile top-ups.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

Using your bank to send money internationally is hardly ever the cheapest or fastest option. To learn more about how to send money more efficiently, read our international money transfers guide.

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